One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about friends of my friends. The post below is the story on a friend of a friend for January 9, 2015.
I grew up in metropolitian area of New York City in Northern New Jersey. Growing up in my hometown of Morristown, NJ it was a melting pot. My best friends were either first or second generation Americans hailing from Cuba, Italy, Israel, Poland, and France.
When I moved to North Carolina the diversity was there but it was different. I had very few friends that could relate to that type of diversity I had experienced but one friend that fits the bill is my pal Perdro “Tito” Massol.
Tito and his family, like me live in Lumberton NC. His wife is from the area and so is my wife. We often swap stories of growing up in or near New York City.
Tito currently is a very successful insurance agent for the Horace Mann Company in Southern Pines, NC. I called him tonight and he was very gracious to tell me a story about a job he had from age 16-19 in Manhattan at the Barton Candy Store on the corner of Lexington and 59th Ave.
Tito’s story on Trudy Kaufman and woking at Barton’s Candy Store in New York City and meeting Mr. Lipschitz
I got a job at Barton’s Candy on the corner of 59th and Lexington Avenue in New York at the age of 16. I started out as a stock clerk and worked their until I was 19. My last year I was the supervisor of the stock clerks. Working there I encountered two females that I think about often and who influenced my life. The store manager was an Italian lady by the name of Evelyn Lanceri who gave me a job. I lived in Harlem and to get to work in Midtown Manhattan was a big deal. Evelyn believed in a 16 year old that was important to me.
The other lady I worked with was a 4’5″Hungarian dynamo by the name of Trudy Kauffman. Trudy was a WW II concentration camp survivor from Aushwicz. She was liberated at the age of 8 and sent to the US. She had a twin brother who was also at Aushwicz but upon arrival at the concentration camp they were seperated and she presumed he had died along with her parents.
At age 50 in 1986 thanks to research by a Jewish organization Trudy found out that her brother was alive and living in Israel. I was always impressed that I worked alongside a Holocaust survivor. She was a strong women who lived alone in the neighborhood that bordered Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. Those three years taught me that you don’t know what people go thru in their lives. Don’t be quick to judge.
Trudy struggled with the english language since she was Hungarian. When I went to work at Barton’s she asked what my name was? I told her Pedro. She said what nationality was I? I told her Puerto Rican. She said what is Pedro translated into English. I told her probably Peter. She asked if I minded to be called Pete. She was convincing and in charge so for three years woking at Barton’s I was Pete.
One day at Barton’s it was just me and Trudy working. She was always behind the counter and as a stock clerk the cash register was off limits to me. In walks this older jewish gentleman hunched over carrying bags. Trudy shouts out “Pete say hello to MR LIPSCHITZ”.
What did I just hear? I looked around and there was this old man nodding at me ackowleging that in fact his name was Lipschitz. Unbelieveable we didn’t have those names in Harlem.
Mr. Lipschitz said “Trudy how are you today and thank you for always introducing me to Barton’s Candy employees. Good to meet you Pete”.
In a split second a phrase was uttered by Trudy that I will never forget. She said “Pete ask Mr Lipschitz if his lips shit what does his asshole do”
I was dumbfounded and about to laugh hysterically all at once. In case I ever forget this story my friend Beth Brill will never let me. She calls me Mr. Lipschitz every time she sees me. Not Pete like Trudy but Mr.Lipschitz. Trudy passed away but I learned a lot of life lessons at Barton’s from that awesome holocaust survivor.